St. Lucia's Prime Minister Stephenson King

As first reported on the HTS news, the Stephenson King Administration has decided this month to keep the price of fuel at the pumps stable at $15.38 for gas and $15.57 for diesel.

During an address to the nation on Wednesday – the Prime Minister explains the move was achieved by cutting the excise tax on the commodity from $3.00 to $1.98 cents for gas and diesel from $3.00 to $2.53.

There was speculation the decision to keep the domestic retail price of fuel steady was predicated on the projected decline in international oil prices. Oil and commodity prices took a nose dive on May 5th but the market continues to be volatile. However the Prime Minister says the effort was accomplished solely through subsidization which staved off the onset of another marked increase in prices.

Critics of the Stephenson King administration including Opposition leader Dr. Kenny Anthony have continually criticized the government’s taxation policy on gasoline. They want the excise tax to be reduced to 2 dollars and a quarterly revision of fuel prices based on the pass through mechanism. However the Prime Minister indicates the adjustment is temporary and there are no plans for a price gap or radical changes to the existing system.

The government leader also cautioned the public that reduction in taxes and revenue will affect capital programs and government’s budgetary plans. King also reiterated calls for the adoption of fuel conservation practices. The next adjustment in the price of fuel takes place on June 6th 2011.